Bees and Trees Update

May 23, 2020 – Bees and Trees has been busy over the last five months finishing our basement. Here are brief summaries, other than the basement, of what I’ve done since January:

February, 2, 2020 – a winter check of the hives reveals everyone is still alive.
February 3, 2020 – we finally got our (old) logo on some sweatshirts to support a local family in need. Thanks to the support of Turtle Lake teachers, we were able to donate over $500 dollars to their family medical costs.
February 16, 2020 – as the basement project (and the Coronavirus) picked up, the sign portion of our business slowed down. But God continues to provide!
February 21, 2020 – for the first time, I was able to tap trees and boil sap with my class. It was a great experience and one some of my students mention as the favorite part of their year.
February, 22, 2020 – these were my hive clusters. As you can see, I had two who came through the winter strong, while two others were hanging on. My two nucs had died at this point.
March 7, 2020 – the first boil of the year. This was the first of three books this year.
March 17, 2020 – the boys got in on the last documented boil of the year. We ended up with 6.5 gallons for the year.
We focused on two syrup flavors this year, Maple and Vanilla Bean. Here are jars prepped with Tahitian Vanilla Beans, ready for hot maple syrup.
March 18, 2020 – we had a big order of hockey signs for the graduating Bemidji boys hockey players.
April 5, 2020 – the introduction of our new logo and labels. We began selling the syrup for the first time and sold out of both syrup and our honey in just over a week.
We also began selling our lip balm made from the wax from our bees.
April 23, 2020 – I added Apivar Mite Strips to all of my hives. This should help with more issues for the summer, but means I can’t start collecting honey until mid-June.
May 9, 2020 – it’s been nearly two weeks in between hive checks. My amazing hive (left side) was packed and ended up with six frames of queen cells, ready to swarm. I was able to take them out and make them into three nucleus (nuc) colonies. The extra room has since stopped the swarming.
May 17, 2020 – my brother notified me that the cover was off my hive up at his place, most likely done by the wind. By the time I got up there a day later, a once strong hive two deep full of bees was down to four or five frames. I was able to find the queen and she was still trying to lay eggs. I gave them plenty of frames of honey and will hope they’re able to build back up.
May 22, 2020 – after another swarm attempt revealed a hive with no queen and no eggs, we played it well and, a week later, were able to see good news. Although I still haven’t found the queen, there are eggs and new queen cells, which I used to make two more nucs. Hopefully we don’t have the same swarming drama at that hive as we did all of last summer. They do know how to make honey, though.
May 23, 2020 – now that the basement is almost finished (and the Coronavirus slowing down), signs have begun picking up again. God gives and He takes away. Through it all, He is good.

Today I wait for better weather and the hopes that IF I have virgin queens in my nucs, that they’ll mate and begin laying in the next week. I couldn’t find them when I checked yesterday.

Next Steps – we hope to get our new on some T-shirts before June. If you’d be interested in getting your hands on one, let me know!

June will bring the main honey flow, additional hive splits, and sweet baby girl Pluim! The future is exciting at Bees and Trees!

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